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A hike in the cost of wheat is alarming French households, which fear a possible rise in the price of the prized baguette, seen by many as a barometer of the country’s economic health.
Many boulangeries around France are putting up signs, warning customers that the long, crunchy staple could be going up in price by 3 to 5 centimes (¥4 to ¥6) from its average of about 89 centimes (¥100).
“Although that might not seem like a lot, it’s a huge increase. The baguette is precious. It has only gone up 23 centimes (¥25) in the last 20 years,” said Dominique Anract, president of the French Confederation of Bakeries and Pastry Shops.
The bread industry crunch has been linked to a 30% worldwide increase since September in the price of wheat — one of the baguette’s key ingredients — after bad harvests in Russia, Anract said. Rising energy prices that are making ovens more expensive to operate are also a factor, Anract and other experts say, with businesses and consumers worldwide already feeling the heat of higher prices from supply chain and labor constraints.
Energy prices are affecting the Italian food chain, too, with expectations they will push up the cost of drying grains. That could eventually raise the price of bread and pasta at supermarkets, but meat and dairy aisles are even more vulnerable as beef and dairy farmers are forced to pay more for grain to feed their animals and pass the cost along to customers. (AP)
To be continued…
This article was provided by The Japan Times Alpha.